The Excel VARP function calculates the variance of an entire population of data. If data represents a sample, use the VAR function or the newer VAR.S function. VARP ignores text values and logicals in references.


Get variation of a population

Return value 

Computed variance


  • number1 - First number or reference.
  • number2 - [optional] Second number or reference.

How to use 

The VARP function calculates the variance of an entire population of data. Variance provides a general idea of the spread of data.  In the example shown, the formula in F5 is:


VARP ignores text and logicals passed into as cell references. For example, VARP will ignore FALSE when it appears in a range like A1:A10. However, VARP will evaluate logical values, and text representations of numbers hardcoded directly as arguments.

Note: Microsoft classifies VARP as a "compatibility function", now replaced by the VAR.P function.

Variation functions in Excel

The table below summarizes the variation functions available in Excel.

Name Data set Text and logicals
VAR Sample Ignored
VARP Population Ignored
VAR.S Sample Ignored
VAR.P Population Ignored
VARA Sample Evaluated
VARPA Population Evaluated


  • VARP assumes data is an entire population. If data represents a sample, use VAR or VAR.S
  • VARP only evaluates numbers in references, ignoring empty cells, text, and logical values like TRUE or FALSE.
  • Arguments can either be numbers or names, arrays, or references that contain numbers.
  • Arguments can be hard-coded values instead of references.
  • To evaluate logical values and/or text in references, use the VARA function.
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Dave Bruns

Hi - I'm Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.